IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2006
THE E-SEND CAPER
6 December 2006
What is it that they say? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
On November 28, Peggy received a too-good-to-be-true offer on a brief sale from SanDisk on memory cards for digital cameras. The sale ended December 1. Peggy wanted to buy three cards, but they would not send them to Australia, so she asked if I could buy them for her and send them to her--an arrangement we have done many, many times in the past.
I went onto the site, found the items she wanted, which were listed as available. I clicked on them and began to fill in the information, only they asked for a special coupon code. Nowhere on the mailer we received was there any number whatsoever. The price offered was $40 and the price I was going to be charged was over $100. BIG difference.
I sent a note to the SanDisk people complaining that when I attempted to order, the product was listed as still available (I even admitted that one other product that I had decided to get for ME was already sold out), but there did not seem to be any way to purchase it at the sale price. I posted my e-mail to them on November 29. On November 30, I get a note from someone named LaShawn Wesley saying that the reason I could not buy at the sale price was that the sale ended on December 1 and so the item was no longer offered at the sale price. Huh? It wasn't even December 1 in the southern hemisphere when I received that notice!
I decided to be smart and call the office. Good luck finding a telephone number on their web site, but I eventually did. I even connected with an operator, who heard my sad tale of woe and said he would transfer me to Customer Service, which, of course, had nobody there and I could only leave a message, which was not returned for a long time and I assumed it would never be returned, so fired off a letter (the kind you put stamps on) to the head of SanDisk.
Miraculously, someone from SanDisk did eventually call me. My pal Manny. Manny explained that they sold nothing at his location and we figured out that the offer was actually made by a company called eSend, a SanDisk distributor. Manny took all the information and said he'd "check around," including calling eSend and get back to me.
In the meantime, I heard back from LaShawne, who now says that the sale actually ended on 11/28 when they ran out of the items for sale. I wrote back to her and pointed out that the Compact Flash was still showing as available for immediate shipment and asked what kind of scam they were pulling.
Enter CTorres. CTorres wrote and told me to go ahead and order the compact flash and that he (I later found out his name was Carlos) would personally lower the price once the $400 order went through. Needless to say I was a bit skeptical about this. But I decided to give it a try.
NOW the site wouldn't let me sign in and when the order came up with the shipping address supposedly showing, there was no address, and when I attempted to "modify" the address, I got an error message.
I wrote back to CTorres, who assured me that his e-mail was guarantee that the sale price would be honored and giving me a "special" URL where he guaranteed I could order the compact flash cards.
Only when I went to THAT URL, it said that the item was now sold out.
I wrote to CTorres who sent the following response:
This ignores the fact that (a) I still can't log in to place an order and (b) because the item is marked sold out, I can't order it, even if he has them sitting on his desk waiting for me.
I also became quite uncomfortable charging $400 with my credit card and trusting that a guy who can't spell "through" is actually going to change the order to reflect the sale price.
It was kind of a moot point anyway, though, because Carlos never answered my last e-mail.
I finally had to admit to Peggy that even if by some miracle my pal Carlos could find a way for me to order them, I was now feeling very uncomfortable about the whole thing.
In the morning, I finally heard back from Manny, who told me that what I had originally been told by LaShawne was true, they had run out of them. This, of course, contradicts what Carlos had been telling me about the day before. Ultimately I didn't trust either of them and it's just as well that I wasn't able to place the order or who knows what I would have ended up owing...or getting (or not getting!)
As I said at the outset, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
My advice to anyone who gets a great offer from eSend is to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!
You know, there was a genteel time when I was younger when
businesses stood by their products and their offers and bent over backwards
to help customers. If the company made an error that inconvenienced a
customer, they made it up to the customer, because it was the company's
fault and they wanted to keep the customer's business. I spent the better part of the day yesterday working on this
project (instead of working on my own work) and ultimately got nothing but a
very bad taste in my mouth out of the whole thing. My experience with SanDisk and eSend is that nobody gives a damn any more. And, in this
particular case, that the left hand obviously doesn't know what the right
hand is doing.
UPDATE: Well, customer service IS alive in the world. When I wrote to Manny to tell him of my experiences with Carlos, he contacted me, asked me to send him the correspondence with Carlos and said he would like to confirm with Carlos that he does, indeed, have the flashes and he would like to sell them to me at the sale price.
As my godfather always said, "never go to the foot when the head can be had."
Kudos and many thanks to SanDisk and a kick in the rear end to eSend.
NEXT UPDATE: The next communique from Manny was just a repeat of what Carlos had told me--order the compact flashes and they would discount the price. They still can't seem to grasp that if they are listed as SOLD OUT, you can't order them on line. I don't expect to hear from either of them again, now, until the next work day, Monday.
NEXT UPDATE: Carlos tells me to go ahead and place the order and assures me that it will go through. It will. For ONE. If I try to add two more, it won't let me. He says to charge one and give him the order number and he will fix it. I am skeptical (again), but we have come this far and I decide to go for it. I don't hear from Carlos again that day.
FINAL UPDATE (I hope): I receive an actual receipt from eSend for three flash disks at the sale price. The receipt says they are back ordered, so who knows when they will arrive, but it appears that they have, at long last, honored the sale and sold me what I set up to buy on November 28.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2442